Why I’m Not A Food Snob
If I were a food snob, I wouldn’t make casseroles from the back of the box of Jiffy All-Purpose Baking Mix. No, in fact, if I were a food snob, I wouldn’t even HAVE a box of Jiffy All-Purpose Baking Mix.
I’m a little bit embarrassed to tell you that such a box is in my possession. And, in fact, I can’t remember exactly why I bought it.
But, a couple of weeks ago, I made Jiffy cinnamon rolls, on a whim. I made them to use up some leftover homemade butter frosting I had in my fridge. Doesn’t that seem a little strange? Just in case you didn’t catch it the first time around – I made cinnamon rolls from a box to use up extra frosting made from scratch. But at any rate, I did it, and they were surprisingly good.
At that time, I happened to notice the recipe for Chicken Broccoli Casserole. All you need is chicken (pre-cooked or canned), frozen chopped broccoli, cheese, milk, eggs and Jiffy mix. Sounded like a pretty good pantry meal to me, especially since I usually have some (you can wince or gasp here) canned chicken on hand.
You might say I’m kind of schizophrenic on the topic of food. I believe passionately in buying from small, preferably local farmers. I don’t like to use a lot of processed foods. Most of the time, I’d rather forego meat altogether than buy it from nasty factories like Tyson or Smithfield. But then there’s the canned chicken. And the Jiffy Mix. And the occasional Friday night after a really long work week when I don’t know what’s for dinner and I remember Chicken Broccoli Casserole.
So I can’t say I’m a food snob. And I certainly can’t preach to anyone else, though I might talk to you on occasion about the latest factory farm scandal, the humane treatment of animals, the evils of Monsanto, or why a diet of processed foods tends to make us fat and sick. No, I’m not perfect. But I CAN try to eat sustainably and locally a lot of the time, and maybe not feel quite so guilty on the occasions that I don’t. I can always strive to do better, but in the meantime, I can enjoy Chicken Broccoli Casserole.
And, did I mention, it is a KAM? (Kitty Approved Meal?)
The Recipe: Chicken Casserole with Broccoli
Other Menu Items: An impromptu “It’s Friday night and I don’t really have many fresh veggies left” salad made by sauteeing Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn with Trader Joe’s frozen tri-color peppers and some chopped onion; seasoning the mixture with chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, sticking it in the freezer to chill while the casserole cooked, and serving it over hearts of romaine with a chili vinaigrette. Not bad!
Cooking It Up:
Preheat the oven to 400. Grease a 2-quart rectangular casserole dish.
Place 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked or canned (drained) chicken, 10 oz frozen chopped broccoli (rinsed and drained) and 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese in the casserole dish.
Lightly beat 3 eggs, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a mixing bowl. Stir in 1 cup Jiffy Baking Mix and whisk until well blended. Whisk in 1 cup milk. (Note – the original recipe says to put the baking mix in first and pour the milk, eggs and seasoning over the top before whisking. This left me with a lot of lumps, which I found annoying. I think mixing the eggs and baking mix first before adding the milk will negate the lumping effect.)
Pour into dish over chicken, broccoli and cheese. Bake for 40 minutes until golden and slightly puffy. A knife inserted into the center of the casserole should come out clean. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
By the way – this recipe is actually from LAST Friday. I’ve been cooking a lot this week, and the job’s been keeping me busy. I still have to tell you about meals from 365 Ways To Cook Vegetarian, Weight Watchers Make It In Minutes, and The Best Skillet Recipes (from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated). Plus, somewhere in there I made a Black Forest Cake for some lucky man’s birthday. Fortunately, we had frozen pizza and guacamole with our martinis last night, so I should have a little time to catch up this weekend.
Until next time,